This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.View Full Document
Unformatted text preview: In one particular letter, sent on December 12, 1922, Toomer mentions how “ Cane ’s design is a circle. From the point of view of the spiritual entity behind the work, the curve really starts with Bona and Paul…plunges into Kabnis, emerges in Karintha etc. swings upward into Theatre and Box Seat, and ends in Harvest Song” (Toomer 162-163). This mirrors Frank’s design in City Block, which allowed Toomer to write a narrative that ended where it started. Despite Frank’s major influence on Toomer, Anderson also gave him insight on how Cane should be written. Toomer found limitations in Anderson’s writings and tried to go beyond them as he wrote Cane . But, in Scruggs’ discussion he falls short when describing the works of Anderson and Toomer. The designs of Winesburg, Ohio and Cane are obviously different. While in Anderson’s novel there is a clear linear progression with a central character, Toomer’s novel has a circular design without a main protagonist. As mentioned earlier, Scruggs hints at this in his essay. However, he fails to mention why this design for Cane worked for the overall theme of the novel. Winesburg, Ohio follows the life of George Willard and his relationships with various people in his town. By examining these relationships, it is easy to see his growth. In the early story “Mother”, George Willard lacks to have a mature emotional relationship with another person, specifically his mother. He can’t seem to express his feelings to her. Even when they are in the same room, his mother and George struggle to start a conversation, “In the evening when the son sat in the room with his mother, the silence made them both feel awkward” (Anderson 17). However, as the 79 Jung novel progresses, changes occur in George’s character emotionally. His relationships with women in particular change, as he is able to express his emotions more. “An Awakening” displays George’s affection towards Belle Carpenter. He exhibits stronger emotions towards her as opposed to his mother, “George Willard’s heart began to beat rapidly… suddenly he decided that Belle Carpenter was about surrender herself to him…the thought made him half drunk with the sense of masculine power” (Anderson 103). Finally by the end of the novel, George matured fully. He is more aware of his emotions and controls them in a sophisticated manner. As Anderson describes in his penultimate story “Sophistication”, “In youth there are always two forces fighting in people…and the older, the more sophisticated thing had possession of George” (134). George has clearly grown up since his relationship with his mother. The growth George experiences makes the linear progression of the novel seem accurate. But in Cane , a circular design fits better with its theme of race and oppression. By exploring “Kabnis”, the last section of Toomer’s novel, it is clear to see that despite the end of slavery, racial oppression still exists in the South and that not much has changed since then. Kabnis, a teacher from the North comes to the South to try and preach but he fears the white population. He thinks North comes to the South to try and preach but he fears the white population....
View Full Document
- Spring '08
- Winesburg, Ohio, SON-9